Young Pemba fisherman survives seven days at sea without food

07Dec 2017
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Young Pemba fisherman survives seven days at sea without food

AN 18-year old Zanzibari fisherman injured after his boat was swept off the island of Pemba by heavy winds is recuperating in Kenya.

Reports say the youngster was rescued by Kenyan fishermen in the Kilifi creek after spending about seven days in the Indian Ocean without food and water.

The fisherman, identified as Abeid Khamis, said yesterday he and a colleague cast out to sea from Muamba ya Chole, Pemba on November 26 this year.

“Our vessel was hit by strong waves and we were pushed into the high seas. We lost control of the vessel and there were no other boats in sight,” Khamis narrated.

“We tried to steer the vessel to the shore but went deeper. We saw trawlers on our way but they did not respond to our distress call,” he added.

According to Khamis, his colleague - identified only as Longoni - jumped out of the vessel on the third day of their ordeal, and is yet to be found.

Longoni apparently tried to swim to safety after he saw a lighthouse a short distance from where their boat had developed problems.

“He (Longoni) complained that he was hungry and thirsty, but we did not have anything in the vessel. I tried to plead with him to hold on, but he decided to jump off," he said.

"I do not know if he managed to swim to safety or if he drowned."

Khamis’s host, Omar Abdallah, said the young fisherman had been brought to his home by a friend on Sunday.

Said Abdallah: “My friend had just dropped his lines when he saw the catamaran. He rescued Khamis and brought him here because he knows I come from Pemba."

"I took him to the police and then to the hospital, because he could not talk properly. He was treated and discharged so I brought him here."

Abdallah said they had contacted Khamis’s family to organise his return to Pemba, since he was in good shape and so was his boat.